Image by Mostafa Habibi
Taking the path to the village along the cliff the old fisherman paused in his customary place to view the sea. The rowing boat caught his attention immediately - a dinghy cast up on the shore, oars shipped. No footprints on the smooth sand, no body drifting in the water, no sign of life anywhere. The tide crept closer, rocked the craft, yet it remained as though anchored. No seabirds wheeled in the air or pecked along the shore line and that was unusual.
The old man clambered down a narrow path to the beach. He wanted a closer look - there might be someone lying in the hull. He stood for a long time, watching, listening, before approaching the craft. The sand sucked at his boots and a sea mist crept in towards land, the dampness infiltrating his layers of clothing. He was not a fanciful man, indeed was known and respected for his practicality, but a sense of dread was growing in him.
Reaching the boat he peered in. There was nothing there. He chuckled and turned to retrace his steps. There were no footprints in the sand.
They missed him in the village, sent out search parties when days passed without sight of him, but he was never found. No-one claimed the dinghy and it soon drifted away. If anyone noticed the faded name they thought nothing of it. ‘Reaper’ wasn’t a local name.
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